Conversations With My Husband: Sucking D*ck For Crack

(Preface: Mom/Dad/Anyone Who’s Offended By Profanity, this is going to involve a lot of that so just stop reading. Everyone else, We call each other crack whores a lot, it’s all loving and joking, Dave Chapelle and this sketch are 100% responsible for it, and we mean no disrespect to all the crack whores who are probably reading this right now.)

Me: “OMG thank you so much for cooking it was freaking delicious. Even though you’re a crack whore.”

David: “You’re a crack whore. You crack whore.”

Me: “I’m not a crack whore.”

David: “You’re not NOT a crack whore.”

Me: “Well, really I am NOT a crack whore. Because I’ve never sucked a dick for crack. That means I’m not a crack whore.”

David: “I guess the real question then is what would you suck a dick for? Would you suck a dick for weed?”

Me: “Absolutely not.”

David: “Would you suck a dick for a ukulele?”

Me: “That would probably depend on who’s dick it was.”

David: “I already got you a ukulele. That really nice ukulele, remember? I got you that and didn’t get anything.”

Me: “Would sucking a dick for ukulele be more classy than sucking a dick for crack? Less classy? Equally unclassy?”

David: “Definitely more classy. Because music is good for you. Crack is not good for you. If you were a ukulele whore I would have a lot more respect for you than if you were a crack whore.”

Me: “Except I’m not a crack whore or a ukulele whore.”

David: “No, you’re still kind of a crack whore.”

Me: “You’re a crack whore. Crack whore.”

I <3 Really Bizarre Fashion

I’m back! I didn’t have internet for the first month we were in the new house… at least not enough to really blog (blogging from my phone makes me want to fall over and die) but we got into the new house (an adventure that will absolutely find it’s way into a belated blogpost), went back to Phoenix for the Free To Be unschooling conference (which was hella awesome), and shot Phoenix Fashion Week again.

Which brings me to the actual point of this story… how much I love Rocky Gathercole.

People who know about fashion and who are into fashion like designers who make clothes you could possibly wear somewhere, things that aren’t too costume-y. But I am not someone who knows about or is into fashion. I am a gal who wears dresses from the Target and Ross clearance racks on my fancy days and dress like a pregnant college student on all the other days (I may or may not be wearing maternity yoga pants and a tattered tshirt I got in the 7th grade as I type this… only God can judge me) and the designers I like are huge and ridiculous and bizarre and make you raise one eyebrow and say “What the fuck?” with every new look that comes down the runway. And I LOVE ROCKY GATHERCOLE.

It started out with this…
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I am not even kidding.
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And to that I say HELLZ YEAH! Then he busted out a little bit of this…
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And ended with his daughter… in a Hello Kitty dress.
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Yep… that just happened.

And that, that my friends is why I loved most of the things I saw at Fashion Week but I ADORE crazy balls-to-the-wall wild ones like Rocky Gathercole. Seriously.

(Click HERE to see the rest of my pictures from the week.)

So My Dog is Definitely Racist…

My dogs are sweethearts. They’re big, they’re chaotic, and sometimes they’re very very noisy, but they’re sweethearts. Daisy (the pitbull) also tends to be fiercely protective of the kids and I… the time someone tried to break into our house in the night while David was gone I was only about 40% scared for me and the kids, the other 60% was scared for the poor robber because I knew the second he managed to jimmy that door open Daisy was going to end him. (He got the message from her snarling at him through the window and decided to move on to another house. Lucky for all of us.) 

10% protector, 90% lazy spoiled creature.
                                                           10% protector, 90% lazy spoiled creature.

The family next door to us in this hotel are conservative Muslims who also happen to all be completely terrified of dogs. TERRIFIED. So every time we’ve run into each other while I was out walking the dogs it doesn’t matter how far away we are from them or how calm and friendly the dogs are being… they see the dogs and lose. their. shit. Specifically the dad who usually runs in front of his family yelling at me to keep the dogs away and generally panicking all over the place. 

What I see is a man who has probably had VERY bad experiences with dogs in the past. I get it. My response is to turn around and walk the dogs the other way until they’re gone so they’re not uncomfortable because they’re a very nice family. 

What Daisy sees is a large man acting erratically, running towards me (to get in front of his family), and yelling. Her response is the same as if he was trying to kill us all.

Which, as you can probably imagine, only makes them freak out more. And then it’s this chaotic spiral of increasing noise and panic and general chaos. It’s not awesome. 

It’s been almost a week since I’ve seen them while I have the dogs (which is awesome) but occasionally now Daisy will just start barking at people. Just random people. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, she’s never done this before. But then I put it together. She barks at anyone dressed like a conservative Muslim. Her only experience with people who look like that has been this family.

So just like my neighbor sees a dog and thinks it’s going to kill him and his whole family (regardless of how it’s acting) because that has been his experience… my dog now sees someone brown wearing a hijab and thinks they’re going to kill her and her whole family (regardless of how they’re acting) because that’s been her experience. And there is probably no way at this point I could ever convince them to interact with each other long enough to realize their preconceived ideas are not based in reality. Ta da! That’s how racism happens!

And that, dear readers, is the story of how my dog became a racist. The end. 

Funschool Sunday

What we did this week in the great land of homeschool. 

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1. They wanted to have sushi so we tried a new place and some new kinds we’ve never had. 
2. We went for lots of nature walks where the kids found sap. So I told them about sap, they touched/poked/squished/explored it and tried to find more, then we read about it at the library. 
3. They did lots of art on my phone. 
4. Big Truck Days in Beaverton. They had semis, tractors, firetrucks, ambulances, cranes… you name it. All that the kids could climb on, climb in, and explore. The people who drive those trucks were there too to tell them all about each one while they explored. 
5-6. This week’s NatureMobile at the library was all about earth worms. We learned all about earth worm anatomy, what they eat, how they move, and who eats them. They plastic spoons and popsicle sticks (“Spoons of Science” and “Popsicle Sticks of Perpetual Discovery” as they called them) to dig through tubs of soil to find worms and watch them move and learned about what’s in soil and composting! They also had a mole (picture 6) which are natural predators of worms. It had these tiny back feet and massive shovel like front feet to burrow through the ground. 
7. Swimming! This week Verona got comfortable jumping in from the side by herself. Now she can’t be stopped. 
8-9. Saturday there was a Polynesian Festival in Beaverton. We heard music from different islands, saw hula dancing, and explored a new cuisine. The kids chose octopus balls and I got poke, a dish of raw tuna and onions tossed in a spicy sauce and served over rice, then we all shared.

What did you learn this week? 

Kids are Cooler Than Grownups

Being in a hub of technological companies (this suburb is the hub of Intel and about five other large Intel-related companies) the hotel we’re staying in is very multi cultural. Since being here I have met more people from more countries than I can even begin to count, just off the top of my head in the last couple days I’ve hung out with people from the Poland, France, Canada, Argentina, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and spend time almost daily with a guy from Spain my dogs have made friends with and two kids from the Netherlands my kids have made friends with. It’s a fun place to be. 

There is also a lot of conservative Muslims here which has been interesting. I’ll sometimes see the little girls at the pool wearing their conservative swimwear which consists of ankle length pants, a long sleeved tunic top, and hijab… all made out of swimsuit material. It’s like the extra serious version of the rash guards you see rich white kids wearing. 

Anyway yesterday was the first day we actually ended up at the pool at the same time as them. All the kids in two large families came bounding into the pool area, ready to swim and one little girl runs up next to Verona.

Verona looked at the little girl, then pointed at her head to toe swimming getup and screamed “YOUR SWIMSUIT!!!!…”

I immediately cringed. What was Verona going to say next? Anyone who has kids is vividly remembering their own moment when their child announced to a stranger in the grocery store that they were fat, or asked someone with severe acne in an elevator what was wrong with their face or why it looked so messed up. Kids are not known for their ability to distinguish what is and is not appropriate to say to someone they barely know… and Verona has enough racist relatives that I had the added fear she’d overheard something once when I wasn’t there to immediately counteract it (even though I really really try) and was going to choose this moment to repeat it. 

The other little girl looked down at her own swimsuit, then over at Verona’s, and Verona continued, “IT’S PINK JUST LIKE MIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNEEEEEEEE!” Then both girls squealed with glee over their commonality, grabbed each other by the hand, and jumped into the pool together. 

And that, my friends, that is why kids are cooler than grownups. 

Funschool Sunday

Funschool Sunday, the rundown of our edutastic week with children.

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1-2: The Portland Aquarium offers ridiculously cheap memberships to homeschoolers. The aquarium itself is pretty mediocre, but they have a lot of interactive stuff where kids can touch the animals.

3: My cousin from Turkey is back visiting and we got to go out for lunch and hear all about life there, the kids were especially interested in what kinds of things they eat there so she told us all about it.

4: Aviary!

5: Verona has been really into doing math with manipulatives lately. Everywhere we go she finds things and asks us to give her math problems to solve with them. That day at lunch there was minimal eating and maximum addition and subtraction being done with steak fries.

6: Our new favorite place to eat that’s really close to our new house has a kids area where Verona found an abacus. I showed her the basics and although she doesn’t understand place values yet she did spend a lot of time doing more addition and subtraction problems with the top row.

7-9: The kids wanted to know how cheese was made so I explained it to them as I understood it, when that wasn’t enough we found some youtube videos showing us, and when that wasn’t enough we decided to visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory. We learned all about cheese is made, got to watch the process in the factory, and tasted lots and lots of different kinds. Fun fact, back in the day white cheddar was a special holiday treat. Most cheese makers made white cheddar one day a year, Christmas Day, then would let it rest for an entire year and sell it the next Christmas.

10-12: Verona’s been asking to go to the beach for almost a year now and now that we live an hour away we can! Verona splashed, Finnegan built things, and we found a ton of these iridescent blue creatures washed up on shore. Nobody knew what they were so we went on an internet mission to figure it out. Turns out they’re called velella and they’re invertebrates that float on the oceans surface and eat zooplankton and small fish but occasionally get blown onto beaches in large numbers.

What did you learn about this week?

Parenting & 1Peter 4:8

The verse about “love covering a multitude of sins” has been coming to mind a lot lately in relation to my parenting.

I had always thought about that verse referring to your love covering your sins… but I’ve been realizing how often my own love helps my children with theirs. (I’m not someone who’s super comfortable with the term “sin” cause I think it’s a whole other can of worms, but bare with me.) At the age my children are we have A LOT of sibling conflicts going on, like, a lot. Compared to other small children I think they actually get along really really well, but some days it still feels like one of them can’t breath without the other taking it as a personal insult.

If I respond in anger, like if I were to spank one of them (I feel very blessed to be able to say my children have never experienced physical violence at the hands of adults they trust) or by yelling at everyone to “Just. Be. Nicer already!” (something I’m not proud to say I’ve done more times than I want to think about), what will I have accomplished? Nothing. At least in the long run. They may go be quiet and leave each other alone right now, they’ll probably get sneakier about their fighting so I don’t even know about it in the future making me think I’ve succeed… but I haven’t helped teach them how to better handle their emotions in the future. I haven’t helped teach them how to respond to anger with kindness by modeling that with my own actions. And I certainly wouldn’t have helped heal the rift in their own relationship.

If I respond with the cold and calculated efficiency advocated by many non-violent parenting sources, if I calmly separating them without showing any emotion “until you can play nicely and share” what will I have accomplished? I have stopped the problem in the moment, yes, and I haven’t added my own physical or emotional violence to the situation.  But I also haven’t done anything to help them do better in the future.

But when I respond in love, when I respond by coming into the situation as a partner with compassion and understanding for all parties involved I can help actually heal the wounds. My love overflows onto them, and they in turn often respond with their own love and compassion that then overflows onto one another in the form of apologies, forgiveness, and constructive brainstorming of how they can both do better in the future. By responding in love I have helped actually fix the issue instead of just stopping the problem, I’ve also helped them repairing what was broken between them/in them AND gave them the tools to do that themselves in the future.

Does that mean the chaos won’t erupt again in an hour? Not necessarily. But I’ve been learning how to handle conflict for almost three decades now and still feel like I only do a good job half the time… I can absolutely extend some grace to people who have only had a couple years of practice.

Within parenting my love can cover not only a multitude of my own questionable decisions, it’s also capable of covering a multitude of fractures within my childrens’ relationship and within themselves, or a multitude of their “sin” if you’re more comfortable with that term.

The fact that I have the power to do that blows my mind… that’s an amazing power… that’s a HUGE deal! And at this age I have the power to do that about 100 times a day. That’s a lot of power for good that I’ve been entrusted with.

Anyway, that’s what’s been growing in my heart lately.

Pro and Cons of Hotel Living

When I was little my mom would get me Eloise books from the library. For those of you who don’t remember, Eloise is a precocious little girl who lives on the “tippy top floor” of the Plaza Hotel in NYC. Even at that age I had this sort of double personality brain so Full-of-Wonder-Jenna would get all starry eyed and think “Ooooo, I want to live in a hotel! That’s so glamerous!” just a second before Cynical-Preschooler-Jenna would scoff “What sort of bourgeoisie shit is this? Who the hell lives in a hotel?”

And before anyone yells at me yes, I’m aware that as a preschooler I probably didn’t know the word “bourgeoisie”. I also didn’t swear yet. But it’s my story and I can paraphrase if I want to.

But now I, yes I, I am this bourgeoisie shit living in a hotel. David’s company moved us up here so, being the good sports they are, are paying for us to stay in a hotel apartment until we close on the house we’re buying. It’s been an interesting experience so far. It feels like being on a vacation but you don’t actually know when you get to go home… while at the same time knowing that (for a couple more weeks at least) you’re technically homeless, which is why you’re here in the first place. It’s all very bizarre. And yes, a little bourgeoisie.

So here, for all of you who are still starry eyed and wondering what it’s like to live in a hotel, are the pros and cons of hotel living.

PRO: Somebody else makes me breakfast every morning.
CON: To get that breakfast I have to be up, clothed, and moving by 8:30, which doesn’t sound too hard but isn’t a normal event in our house.

PRO: Somebody else makes me coffee every day… all day….
CON: It’s really terrible coffee. (I drink it anyway.)

PRO: I have a maid! Several maids actually.
CON: I’m a pretty messy person and now there are a couple little Mexican women who know the full extent of my messiness.

PRO: I’m getting really good at my Spanish from practicing all the time because…
CON: I’m pretty sure the maids are talking about me and my aforementioned messiness to each other every time I walk by and I want to be able to know for sure.

PRO: I’m getting to experience full on minimalism first hand.

We’re in a furnished apartment, staged the way fancy magazines stage places they’re doing shoots of (a couch, a desk, some well placed art… not much else), and other than that we just have a big dufflebag of clothes, our laptops, and the kids each have one small tupperware container of toys. I’ve been caterwauling for years now about wanting to try out a minimalist lifestyle and now I’m totally getting to and nobody in my family can complain about it. BWAHAHAHAHA!

CON: It turns out minimalism is totally the worst. I want to have things available when I need them. I want to have as many pots and pans to cook with as I could possible need. I want my kids to have stuff to be able to really entertain themselves without just turning on the TV (a handful of Barbie stuff and a couple toy trucks can only get you so far).

Having less stuff is great. Not being consumed by consumerism is awesome. But until we get into the house and our stuff comes out of storage we’re at that “own only 100 things” level of minimalism you read about and it. is. dumb.

PRO: Once we do get into the house and all our stuff is out of storage I can have things or get rid of things as I sit fit without having this idea in the back of my mind that I’m failing everyone by not owning next to nothing, or that we would all be happier that way.

Cause I’ve been there, done that, and am totally over it.

New Blog Stuff & Funschooling Sunday

I’ve decided to combine a bunch of my blogs into one. I know most blogs have one niche audience they’re aiming at… because that’s good business… but my blog(s) isn’t a business, this blog is just because, well honestly I don’t now why I blog. But I do. And now it’s all going to be here (insert thunderous applause here) instead spread across various places on the interweb.

What this means for both of all of my loyal Plaid Sheep readers:

-Love the random musings from my brain and life that you’re used to being assaulted by every time you visit this space? Congratulations! That’s all still going to be here!

-Want to also see reivews of restaurants I love, awesome recipes, more photography things, and stuff about homeschooling/unschooling? Congratulations! All that and more is now going to be here as well!

-Not interested in seeing reviews of restaurants we’ve been to, awesome recipes, more photography things, and stuff about homeschooling/unschooling? Tough luck sweetheart, I’m putting it on here anyway.

So that’s that, you’ve been warned. Also, I’ve decided that instead of trying to keep track of the edu-tastic stuff we do, every Sunday I’m going to post the week’s rundown. I’m calling it Funschooling Sunday because I’m not feeling particularly creative this afternoon. Deal with it.

So here is our last week!
PicMonkey Collage1. On our way up to Portland we stopped for an afternoon in LA to visit grandma Olive and her daughter Mirial. Inter-generational learning at it’s finest.
2. Math with raisins at a rest stop half way up the coast.
3. Going through so many states required lots of map referencing for the kids. We talked about everything from the differences between a neighborhood, city, state, and country, to what highway numbers mean. Also it should go without saying, tons of geography.
4. Went to Powell’s Books, the biggest used bookstore in the world, to read and play.
5. Visited the Portland Rock Gym.
6. Read about Queen Anne’s Lace after finding some growing wild in a ditch. Also read about Queen Anne while we were at it.
7. Learned about owls at the Beaverton Library’s Nature Mobile program and got to dissect owl pellets. Verona found almost an entire mouse skull inside the one she had, all the little teeth were still in there and everything.
8. Mennonite bluegrass festival.
9. Visited the farmer’s market by the house we’re buying, met the venders, tasted lots of samples, and petted lots of dogs.

Acorns, Magic, and Mennonite Bluegrass

In the desert big deciduous trees are really rare, so since coming to the north west Verona has discovered acorns and is OBSESSED. Positively obsessed. Finn think they’re pretty fun too, but I’m pretty sure Verona thinks they’re worth their weight in gold. Or magic. Or something.

Yesterday my friend Erinne and I took all the kids down to this Mennonite bluegrass festival a little over an hour south of the city. It was held on a farm with the whole back of the property for seating with the house’s back porch as the stage. The day was GORGEOUS, the area was shaded, there was a big play house for kids and swings and a big sprinkler system set up for them… it was awesome.
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At one point Verona and I walked around the front of the farm house. She stopped, her eyes grew wide, I had no idea what was going on for a few seconds until she screamed “MOOOOMMMMM!  AAAAACCCCCOOOORRRRRNNNNNSSSSS!”

Lo and behold, there was a massive tree dropping acorns like it was its job. The ground was covered in them. Something I never in 100 years would have noticed unless I stepped on one barefoot, but Verona was already on her hands and knees scooping up as many as she could carry while I went back to my seat to listen to more music.

When she came back around I saw her hands filled with her tiny treasures, but instead of bringing them with her as soon as she passed the first person in their chair she stopped, looked at them, then reached out and handed them an acorn. The old woman’s smile at Verona’s generosity propelled her down the row, handing out acorns to everyone she passed until her hands were empty. Then she walked back around the house to get more. I smiled to myself and then didn’t think any more of it until probably 15 minutes later when I saw Verona march around the house again, acorns in hand, followed by 5-6 other little kids holding acorns in their hands, in bowls and cups they’d taken out of the play house, or holding up their skirts filled with the tiny things.

Verona had organized a small gang to help her. As I watched them get closer to the seating area she stopped them and started directing children to different parts of the crowd to hand out their goodies.

The kids all listened to her… girlfriend is apparently a very effective at leading and delegating work. The kids went up and down rows until I’m pretty sure everyone at the festival had an acorn of their very own.
_DSC0595 And I managed to get a picture. Winning.